How to choose an energy-efficient fridge

What to think about before replacing your old one



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When it comes to kitchen appliances, the refrigerator typically guzzles more energy than any other. These days, however, manufacturers are rolling out energy-saving models like never before, incorporating high-efficiency compressors and improved insulation and door seals. If you’re ready to trade up, here’s what to look for:

Size matters

It’s generally easier on planet and wallet to run one large unit instead of two small ones (each with its own motor and compressor). Better yet, if you know your single big fridge will sit empty for extended periods, consider replacing it with a compact model. Smaller is better, because there’s less space to cool.

Star power

Look for the Energy Star logo, which means the appliance exceeds federal energy-efficiency standards by at least 20 per cent, and also compare annual energy use between models. Don’t even think about keeping your old fridge as a beer cooler—a pre-1993 model sucks up twice the power of a new, Energy Star–rated appliance. If you insist on keeping it around for parties, at least unplug it between events.

Go configure

A side-by-side refrigerator-freezer expends 10 to 30 per cent more electricity than a similarly sized model with the freezer on top (the freezer-on-the-bottom model falls in between). For most efficiency, don’t place your fridge in a sunny spot or beside your stove, where it has to work harder to keep cool.

Energy-efficient fridge manufacturers

Other helpful information

This article was originally published on March 20, 2008

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